Tourist activities in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Tourist activities in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park: Mgahinga gorilla national park is one of the best and most visited national parks in Uganda mostly for Mountain Gorilla trekking, Golden Monkey trekking, volcano hiking and the Batwa trail. Mgahinga Gorilla national park is a small park situated in far south western part of Uganda the pearl of Africa and was gazette in 1991 covering a land area of 33 square kilometers. This is done to protect the beautiful diversity of fauna and flora species most importantly the endangered mountain gorillas. This article talks about the tourist activities/ things to do in Mgahinga Gorilla national park and they include;
Mountain Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Mgahinga Gorilla national park is a home to only one habituated mountain gorilla family Nyakagezi that is found of roaming the forest for food. Mgahinga gorilla national park is one of the 4 destinations in the entire world where one can encounter with the mountain gorilla in their natural habitats other destinations being Bwindi impenetrable national park that harbors the largest population of mountain gorillas in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mountain gorilla trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park stars early in the morning at 7:00am with briefing at the Ntebeko where the park headquarters for Mountain Gorilla trekking are situated. During briefing, trekkers get to know all the basic information about gorilla trekking, the dos and don’ts during gorilla trekking and the possible encounters in the jungle. The trekkers are then led into the forest in search of Nyakagezi Gorilla family which takes about 2-7 hours to find it depending on its movement and the trekking speed of the slowest person in the group. Upon finding Nyakagezi Gorilla family, you will spend only 1 hour of close interaction taking photographs and closely viewing family members then exit the forest and return to the park headquarters for a gorilla trekking certificate before returning to your lodge.
Note: a permit to trek Nyakagezi gorilla family costs $700 and can be obtained from the Uganda Wildlife Authority headquarters in Kamwokya Kira Road.
Golden monkey tracking in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Mgahinga gorilla national park is very small in size with just 33 Square Kilometers but thrills with plenty of tourist attraction and in those attractions are the Golden monkeys. In the whole of Uganda, Golden monkey tracking is only conducted in Mgahinga gorilla national park. These beautiful primates are listed under the IUCN Red list as one of the endangered species in the world thus a track to encounter with them is such a rewarding experience. During the adventure to track the Golden monkeys, look out for other park dwellers like other primates, Mammals, birds, butterflies and many more.
Batwa Trail and Garama Cave in Mgahinga gorilla national park
The Batwa trail is yet a fascinating activity enjoyed in Mgahinga gorilla national park where tourists embark on a forest walk with the local Batwa guides following the trail that leads to various attractions in the forest that were used by the Batwa during their stay in the forest before they were forced out. The Batwa guide will spot out different plant species that were and still used as medicine to treat different diseases, elaborate how they used to hunt small animals and gather honey, make fire etc. The trail as well leads to the Garama Caves situated about 3Km deep inside the forest which acted as a hiding place for the Batwa as they raid their neighboring communities but as of now, Garama cave acts as the habitat for the bats.
Volcano Hiking in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Mgahinga gorilla national park is one of the best destinations to visit for Volcano hiking safaris in Uganda the pearl of Africa. There are 3 stunning volcanos which one can hike from the Ugandan side with in Virunga massif and these include mount Muhavura situated at 4,127M above the sea level, Mount Sabyinyo at 3,645M above the sea level and Mount Gahinga at 3,474M above the sea level. All these 3 volcanoes can be hiked at any given period of time all year round though dry months are always the best season for the Hike.
Mount Sabyinyo is a 13Km hike to make a round trip and hiker can take about 8 hours to complete these 13Km. mount Sabyinyo was named after its shape which looks like the worn out teeth of the old man. On the other hand, a hike to summit the top of Mount Muhavura requires about 8 hours to complete a 12km hike. And finally a hike to summit mount Gahinga takes about 6 hours via bamboo forest with a golden opportunity of spotting Mountain Gorillas, Golden monkeys etc.
Birding and bird watching in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Bird watching is such a fascinating and breath taking activity enjoyed by the bird lovers and Mgahinga being one of the birder’s haven offers the best birding experience with over 180 bird species thrilling within this small park including the water birds, forest birds, migratory birds, Albertine rift endemic species and many more. All you require is a pair of binoculars and you will be able to watch as many bird species as possible. Amongst the bird species to look out for in Mgahinga gorilla national park include; Kivu Ground Thrush, Malachite kite, Rwenzori Turaco, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Double collard Sunbirds, Striped breasted Tit, White Starred Robin, Rwenzori Batis, Western Green Tinker bird, Olive Pigeon, Scarlet-tufted and many more. Hiring a birder as your guide is an added advantage as these guides know well the best birding spots and can as well identify different bird species by voice.
Mgahinga gorilla national park is amongst the best destinations to explore while on a Uganda safari. It can as well be combined with other nearby destinations like Bwindi impenetrable national park, Lake Bunyonyi, Queen Elizabeth national park and many more. Let us know when you wish to Visit Mgahinga gorilla national park.